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Open AccessArticle

Human–Wildlife Coexistence in Urban Wildlife Management: Insights from Nonlethal Predator Management and Rodenticide Bans

1
Department of Politics, Drexel University, 3025 MacAlister Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Drexel University, 2024 MacAlister Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(11), 1983; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10111983
Received: 10 September 2020 / Revised: 11 October 2020 / Accepted: 24 October 2020 / Published: 28 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Animal Welfare Policies and Practices)
We seek to understand how U.S. cities manage human coexistence with wild animals that are often disliked, specifically coyotes and rats. To this end, we analyze urban wildlife management plans from around the country that propose to strengthen human–wildlife coexistence. Remarkably, some cities are learning to tolerate and even welcome wild predators, such as coyotes, as long as they do not endanger human safety. Killing aggressive individuals remains a management option of last resort. Alternatively, rats are not tolerated at all, and the use of rodenticides to control rat populations remains widespread. Emerging local restrictions on the use of some rodenticides seek to protect the lives of carnivores who feed on rodents. We discuss what the increased popularity of less lethal forms of urban wildlife management can tell us about the capacity of cities to promote the wellbeing not only of people but of wild animals too.
Conceptions of human–wildlife coexistence that acknowledge nonhuman wild animals as fellow urban dwellers with legitimate claims on shared urban spaces are starting to influence urban wildlife management practices. Insofar as at least some wild animals have successfully achieved membership in urban society, how has this revaluation affected how urban wildlife is governed? Our interpretive policy analysis explores this question in two areas of urban wildlife management where practices are becoming less lethal: predator management and rodent control. A directed qualitative content analysis of U.S. urban wildlife management plans and rodent control strategies reveals a shift from conflict to coexistence as the basis for understanding human–wildlife relations in urban settings. Indiscriminate killing of urban wildlife is condemned as unethical as well as impractical, and lethal control figures as a measure of last resort that must be rationally justified. Commensal rodents, however, do not benefit from this shift toward coexistence between humans and nonhuman species. Campaigns to restrict the use of rodenticides are intended to protect carnivores, not the rodents themselves. Though urban wildlife management is consistent with some elements of the vision of multispecies flourishing developed by human–animal studies scholars, not all species benefit equally from this transition, and the legitimacy of wild animals’ claims on shared urban spaces often remains contingent on their good behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban wildlife management; human–wildlife coexistence; multispecies flourishing; human–animal studies urban wildlife management; human–wildlife coexistence; multispecies flourishing; human–animal studies
MDPI and ACS Style

Hunold, C.; Mazuchowski, M. Human–Wildlife Coexistence in Urban Wildlife Management: Insights from Nonlethal Predator Management and Rodenticide Bans. Animals 2020, 10, 1983.

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